Linlithgow school for deaf youngsters is being investigated

editorial image

A high-level abuse inquiry is to investigate allegations regarding Donaldson’s School for Deaf Children in Linlithgow, it has emerged.

The Preston Road premises joined a roll call of two other schools in the Lothians after it was revealed last week that they would scrutinised as part of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

The Royal Blind School in Morningside and Harmeny School in Balerno are also involved in the investigation.

Set up in 2015, the inquiry is now looking into alleged past abuse at 86 institutions nationally.

In 2014, Janice MacNeill, chief executive of Donaldson’s School, was dismissed following an inquiry into how allegations of a sex assault committed by one of her staff were handled.

Board members demanded to know why staff waited nearly four years to take action against youth worker William Docherty – later convicted of indecently assaulting a 16-year-old boy during a birthday party.

Laura Battles, chief executive officer of the Donaldson Trust, said safeguarding children was now “a number one priority”, recognised by Education Scotland.

Ms Battles said: “We will fully cooperate with the Inquiry’s investigations.

“As a charitable trust founded on the principle of caring for vulnerable children, we completely support the aims of the inquiry in uncovering any historic cases of abuse to help protect children in the future.”

Lady Smith, chair of the inquiry, urged anyone with relevant information about any of the three institutions to contact her team - who would support witnesses throughout.

She said: “It doesn’t matter whether you have already made a report to the police or to anyone else and it does not matter whether or not you have been involved in any other investigation.

“ You can still talk to us and we want to hear from you.”

The team can be contacted via talktous@childabuseinquiry or by calling 0800 0929 300. Written correspondence can be sent to PO Box 24085, Edinburgh, EH7 9EA.